Women Finish 3rd; Brittany Benn Named to Tournament Dream Team: Men Gain Revenge on Scotland for 13th
The Canadian women only lost one game at the tournament to finalist New Zealand, they defeated Russia 40-12 in the Bronze medal match. They now sit in a tie for second with New Zealand and Russia with Australia #1. There are three tournaments left, Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris. Brittany Benn was named to the tournament Dream Team.
WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT DREAM TEAM
The men went 0-4 finally beating Papua New Guinea in the 13th place semi-final. They got revenge on Scotland for the hiding they received in their opening match and defeated them 14-12 to claim 13th spot and 3 series points. They now sit in 10th place dropping from 7th. They lost 5 players during the tournament and finished the final match with just one sub. Who they fly in for next weekend's match will be interesting. The men actually got a good pool draw in Hamilton, the teams ranked above them in the pool are all teams they've beaten when on top form, USA, Kenya, Samoa.
HAMILTON POOLS MEN
Tale of Two Programs: Women Battle for 3rd/4th - Men 0-3 and Outscored 119-29 Overall
It's been a tale of two programs at the Sydney 7s, the women consistent, a result of consistent coaching over the years, well funded, and a good development program.
The men's program up and down, erratic, many coaching changes over the years, losing the OTP funding and a development program in trouble.
The women went 4-0 in the tournament before running into New Zealand in the semi-finals and losing 26-0. There's no doubt New Zealand and Australia are the top two teams in the world and have been for a while. Canada will battle Russia for 3rd, the same scenario as Dubai. Brittany Benn has been the class of the Canada side, the veterans Jen Kish and Ghislaine Landry slowing down a bit. It shows the importance of new energy and new players to keep the side going. The women have that with Caroline Crossley, Hannah Darling, Breanne Nicholas. The development program is so important to keep the program in the top 4.
The men have been a different story, they lost 52-5 to Scotland, likely the worst loss to Scotland ever. The team looked uninspired and disorganized. They followed up with a better performance against Australia keeping it close in the first half but fell away quickly in the second half to lose 27-5, an aggregate of 79-10 with USA up next. The veteran players have been muted the team looks like it needs an infusion of energy but there are no promising players on the horizon ready to take the lead and break the team out of its lethargy. Several injuries hit during the Australia match Hammond and Fuailefau went down with injuries that took them off the field. Berna wasn't available prior to the match and Jake Thiel as the 13th man has been brought into play. It's shaping up to be a difficult tournament, we'll see if the veteran players can turn it around.
The last match of the pool round completed with Canada losing to USA 40-19. That creates a pool round aggregate of 119-29, one of the worst aggregates for Canada in tournament play. Defence and ball security are a problem. Perry Baker scored three tries before Canada got on the board with a Harry Jones score. Baker scored his fourth and Ben Pinkleman added two more and by 9 minutes USA had reached 40. Canada scored two late tries by John Moonlight, and the first by newcomer Jake Thiel at 14 minutes. Canada face Samoa in the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals, Samoa lost to Fiji and New Zealand but defeated Russia.
There will be a lot of head scratching to analyze the collapse of the team in the pool round, the removal of Connor Braid in particular may have been a contributing factor. He had won a starting role and was one of the bright lights on the team as they made their run for 4th place in Cape Town. Admir Cejvanovic also started in some of those matches. Both were pulled into the XVs team for the Uruguay tests. The men's 7s program obviously is not robust enough to handle that loss of personnel, now with the additional injuries it will be time to dig deep.
Canada’s men’s roster for Sydney & Hamilton:
Phil Berna – UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
Jared Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Justin Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Captain, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Luke McCloskey – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
John Moonlight – James Bay AA (Pickering, ON)
Matt Mullins – Queen’s University (Belleville, ON)
Jake Thiel – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Canada’s women's Sydney Sevens roster (Name - Club, Hometown):
Olivia Apps – Aurora Barbarians (Lindsay, ON)
Britt Benn – Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Caroline Crossley – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Hannah Darling – Peterborough Pagans (Warsaw, ON)
Julia Greenshields – Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Jen Kish – Edmonton Rockers (Edmonton, ON)
Tausani Levale – Abbotsford Griffins (Abbotsford, BC)
Ghislaine Landry – Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Megan Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Kayla Moleschi – Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas – London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
Natasha Watcham-Roy – Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)